But meanwhile the glory of the Spirit’s power possessed all their best thought. Night after night that week witnessed miracles as great as walking on the sea or feeding the multitude with a few loaves and fishes. For what greater miracle is there than a regenerate humanity? The transformation of these coarse, brutal, sottish lives into praying, rapturous lovers of Christ, struck Rachel and Virginia every time with the feeling that people may have had when they saw Lazarus walk out of the tomb. It was an experience full of profound excitement for them.
Rollin Page came to all the meetings. There was no doubt of the change that had come over him. Rachel had not yet spoken much with him. He was wonderfully quiet. It seemed as if he was thinking all the time. Certainly he was not the same person. He talked more with Gray than with any one else. He did not avoid Rachel, but he seemed to shrink from any appearance of seeming to renew the acquaintance with her. Rachel found it even difficult to express to him her pleasure at the new life he had begun to know. He seemed to be waiting to adjust himself to his previous relations before this new life began. He had not forgotten those relations. But he was not yet able to fit his consciousness into new ones.
The end of the week found the Rectangle struggling hard between two mighty opposing forces. The Holy Spirit was battling with all His supernatural strength against the saloon devil which had so long held a jealous grasp on its slaves. If the Christian people of Raymond once could realize what the contest meant to the souls newly awakened to a purer life it did not seem possible that the election could result in the old system of license. But that remained yet to be seen. The horror of the daily surroundings of many of the converts was slowly burning its way into the knowledge of Virginia and Rachel, and every night as they went uptown to their luxurious homes they carried heavy hearts.
“A good many of these poor creatures will go back again,” Gray would say with sadness too deep for tears. “The environment does have a good deal to do with the character. It does not stand to reason that these people can always resist the sight and smell of the devilish drink about them. O Lord, how long shall Christian people continue to support by their silence and their ballots the greatest form of slavery known in America?”
He asked the question, and did not have much hope of an immediate answer. There was a ray of hope in the action of Friday night’s primary, but what the result would be he did not dare to anticipate. The whiskey forces were organized, alert, aggressive, roused into unusual hatred by the events of the last week at the tent and in the city. Would the Christian forces act as a unit against the saloon? Or would they be divided on account of their business interests or because they were not in the habit of acting all together as the whiskey power always did? That remained to be seen. Meanwhile the saloon reared itself about the Rectangle like some deadly viper hissing and coiling, ready to strike its poison into any unguarded part.